TRAVELODGE LEADS BRITISH HOLIDAY FIGHTBACK
21st Jul 2008
WITH £150M SEASIDE INVESTMENT PROGRAMME
Today a budget hotel chain will spearhead a summer holiday campaign to win back British holidaymakers from holidaying abroad. Travelodge is joining with other leading British holiday brands to offer a compelling alternative to the 30%* of Brits that are turning away from foreign travel this year. National Express, Merlin's Sealife, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and many more have signed up to Travelodge's 'Save our Seaside' campaign, pledging major discounts on holiday accommodation, travel, refreshments and attractions.
The campaign coincides with a seaside investment programme launched by Travelodge this week. The budget chain is following up its unprecedented city centre growth strategy with 55 new hotels in coastal towns by 2015. The new properties represent a £150m investment over the next six years and will create 1,000 new jobs in some of the most underinvested towns in the UK.
Travelodge CEO, Grant Hearn said: "If ever there was a time to win back the Brits that have been tempted abroad by the budget airlines, it is now. Soaring air fares, an overpowering Euro and the credit crunch is changing holiday habits this summer and maybe for good. If we can provide quality accommodation, low prices and fantastic attractions, we can turn this opportunity into a lasting tourism legacy."
CBI Director General Richard Lambert commented: "The weakness in sterling and improvements in the product offering should make the UK look a more attractive destination for foreign and domestic citizens alike."
The budget hotel chain's confidence in the British seaside resorts follows strong like for like growth across its coastal properties in 2007 and a sharp rise of 30% forecasted in July and August 2008. Travelodges growth is also reflected in the latest tourism numbers which show UK holiday breaks were up 13% in the first quarter of 2008. VisitBritain figures reveal one in three breaks by UK nationals are taken at the seaside creating a market of 25.5 million trips worth £5bn in revenue.
Travelodge, already in 30 coastal locations, will develop at pace, opening on average, one coastal hotel a month. The 55 property programme includes openings in Blackpool, Weymouth, Newquay, Bournemouth and Scarborough in the next twelve months alone.
Grant Hearn said: "Twenty out of the top 80 most deprived towns in the UK are on the coast. We believe that this investment and job creation will create a marked change to the fortunes of these economies. As our hotels are 'no frills' our customers spend all of their holiday cash in our hotels' communities - this means that seaside businesses will gain an extra £42m of annual customer spend from Travelodge alone."
Travelodge has signed up all of its 5,500 employees to win back support of the British seaside. Every hotel receptionist will be encouraging customers to pledge extra nights away in seaside towns in 2009. The customers' details will be passed to seaside tourist boards so that local businesses can fight for a share of new customers next year.
Supporting the campaign, Tom Wright, chief executive of national tourism agency, VisitBritain, said:
"Brits are too quick to head overseas for their summer break. Although we may not be able to guarantee the sunshine, our coastal destinations and holiday experiences are so varied that whatever the weather, theres something to enjoy beside the seaside. Now is the time for the travel industry to get behind the campaign and turn the potential of a domestic tourism boom into a reality."
Liberal Democrats Tourism Spokesperson, Don Foster MP commented:
"After too long in decline, our famous seaside resorts are making a welcome fight back against the overseas tourist packages. Travelodge's investment plans alone would be an impressive boost but, by working with a range of partners, they are leading the way in reestablishing confidence in seaside holiday packages."
For further information please contact:
Greg Dawson, Travelodge 01844 358644
Nick Dines, Travelodge 078272 43921
Mark Hutcheon, Reputation Inc 07739 181 352
Notes to Editors:
8One Poll survey of 4,000 UK adults
The first budget hotel brand to launch in the UK in 1985, Travelodge now operates 344 hotels (24,000 rooms) - ten in Ireland, three in Spain and the rest in the UK. Travelodge plans to grow its estate to 70,000 rooms approximately 1000 hotels by 2020.
Six and a half million people stayed with Travelodge last year and 87% of reservations are currently made online at travelodge.co.uk, where room rates start at £19 a night. The chain employs 5,000 staff and is owned by Dubai International Capital, who acquired the organisation from Permira in 2006.